Around the World and Back Again

A love of learning and travel inspires generous endowment from two former Bradley professors

By Emily Potts

Mike and Peggy Lane met at Bradley University in 1991, when both were faculty members. Mike taught accounting and Peggy taught business computer classes. “We were part of a big group of faculty that socialized together, including weekly dinners,” Peggy explained. “One week, we were the only two that showed up, and the rest is history.”

Their love story and their shared experiences at Bradley inspired them to establish the Lane Scholars Endowed Fund with an estate gift commitment of $1 million. This newly endowed fund will support future students with their co-curricular travel expenses as part of their Bradley experience.

Traveling is a shared passion for the couple, especially now that they are retired. Between them, they have visited more than 16 countries and 49 of the 50 states. They’ve already booked several trips in 2024 and 2025 to the Panama Canal, Greece, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand and the Mediterranean.

The travel bug bit the two while they were at Bradley when, in 1993, they both traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia with a group of Bradley students. They visited Russian universities and met with students and faculty and discovered that despite cultural and political differences, they had similar hopes and dreams. Peggy recalled a tour guide in Moscow saying, “You’re just like us.”

The standout moments from that trip and trips to follow were always student reactions to new experiences. For instance, when they walked into St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Mike said, “I would try to get in first, so I could turn around and see their faces. Many of these kids had never traveled outside the U.S., much less outside Illinois, and to have this experience at a young age is transformational.

“We want our legacy to be that of supporting education and international travel. We hope Bradley students and faculty gain an understanding that people are very similar, and that often international issues are created by leaders, not citizens.”

The couple has fond memories of their time at Bradley, not only for the comradery with fellow faculty members and their love of teaching, but for the leadership opportunities they were offered. “Bradley is a place where everybody could grow and prosper, whether you were a student or a teacher,” Mike said.

“We believe in the longevity and success of Bradley,” Peggy added. “It’s where we met and where our love for international travel began.”

Together, they are creating an incredible legacy for Bradley University for generations to come.

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